NSPCA lays criminal complaint against 'sheep ship' stakeholders

Al Shuwaikh crew loading 60, 000 sheep onto the vessel in October.
Al Shuwaikh crew loading 60, 000 sheep onto the vessel in October.
Image: Alan Eason

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has laid a criminal complaint against stakeholders involved in the controversial export of 60,000 live sheep from East London to Kuwait last month.

The complaint, announced by the NSPCA in a statement on Thursday afternoon, is made against the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development, the Eastern Cape department of rural development and agrarian reform, Al Mawashi, the owners of the Al Shuwaikh vessel, the captain of the Al Shuwaikh, the Page Farming Trust and individuals from the Page Farming Trust.

The NSPCA believes these stakeholders contravened the Animal Protection Act.  

“Our pleas to treat the animals humanely fell on deaf ears,” said Grace de Lange, manager of the NSPCA’s farm animal protection unit.

“Seeing the suffering of these sheep even before their departure, and watching the Al-Shuwaikh depart was heartbreaking, but it has also affirmed the NSPCA’s determination to advocate for justice on their behalf.”

De Lange said the NSPCA had received criticism that it had taken too long to lay the complaint.

“Preparing separate dockets for the feedlot, the harbour and the vessel carrying the sheep has involved the collation of valuable evidence from 15 staff members. Carefully completed dockets with the relevant evidence have been handed over to the South African Police Services who will now only be required to obtain statements from the accused”.

The intention was not only to ensure that the Al-Shuwaikh did not return to South African shores, but also to challenge the issue of exporting live animals by sea.


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